Venus de Milo is a comfort-food soup made with ground beef, frozen vegetables, and orzo. Plus, it’s ready to feed the whole family in about 20 minutes.
Venus de Milo soup is one of those weeknight secret weapons to keep at the ready when you have to get dinner on the table fast. Made with pantry and freezer staples like canned, diced tomatoes, pearl couscous or orzo pasta, a bag of frozen vegetables, and ground beef, it feeds a crowd and is ready in twenty minutes.
What Is Venus De Milo Soup?
Venus De Milo Soup is a simple beef and vegetable soup named after a popular banquet hall in New England.
Homemade versions of the soup are typically made with a packet of Lipton Onion Soup mix and beef stock, but I’ve lightened up the sodium by replacing the onion soup packet with a sauteed onion, and swapped out the beef stock for chicken stock, making it hearty enough for fall and winter, and light enough for quick-cook spring or summer dinners, too.
How To Make Venus De Milo Soup
This simple soup starts by heating a little olive oil in a large saucepan and cooking the onion and ground beef at the same time over medium-high heat, along with some salt. Stir this every once in a while to break up any large chunks of ground beef, but for the most part, you can leave it alone.
The ground beef, and the onion especially, will release moisture as it cooks, which will make everything look watery for a few minutes. Continue to let this cook while stirring every now and then, and once all of the moisture evaporates, the onion and ground beef will begin to brown and caramelize, about 10-12 minutes. Since most of the flavor in this recipe comes from the caramelized ground beef and onion, you’ll want to take care with this step.
Ground chicken or turkey can also be used in place of ground beef. Both of these will take a little longer to cook, but don’t skimp on the browning step when substituting with either of these. Chicken and turkey tend to be milder in flavor, so the soup will benefit from a good, dark caramelization on these.
What Kind Of Pasta Is Used In Venus De Milo Soup?
Orzo pasta is traditionally used in Venus de Milo soup. I always have pearl couscous on hand though, which not only makes a quick side dish, but is the perfect size for soups, too. Couscous is a round pasta shape, often sold in the rice aisle instead of the pasta aisle, and is available in a couple of different sizes: tiny (which looks like a grain and is why it’s sold in the rice aisle), and large, also known as pearl or Israeli couscous. The pearl couscous is the size of small pebbles, and not at all like the tiny grains of couscous.
If pearl couscous isn’t available in your area, orzo, or any similarly-sized pasta will work well, including ditalini, acini de pepe, alphabets, etc..
Once the ground beef and onion is caramelized, the rest of the soup is a dump-and-go and comes together quickly. Stir in the couscous, frozen vegetables, tomatoes, remaining salt, and chicken stock, and bring the pot to a rolling boil. Reduce to a simmer, and let this cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 more minutes or until the pasta is cooked.
If you happen to have a rind of Parmesan cheese in your fridge (that’s the tough end of the cheese that is too hard to eat), toss that in as well. You’ll scoop the rind out before serving the soup, but while it’s simmering in there, it adds a lot of rich flavor.
Whether you have a Parmesan rind or not, serve the soup with lots of grated Parmesan cheese, crusty bread, or my Pizza Dough Skillet Bread.Print
This comfort-food soup made with ground beef, frozen vegetables, and orzo is ready to feed the whole family in 20 minutes.
Top with Parmesan cheese, and serve with open-faced grilled cheese or crusty bread.
Listen to me explain briefly about how to make this soup, with some great tips along the way, by clicking the play button below:
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 tsp. salt, divided
- 1 lb. ground beef
- ½ cup pearl couscous or orzo pasta
- 1 (15 oz.) bag mixed frozen vegetables
- 1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes, lightly drained
- 4 cups chicken stock
- In a large saucepan heat olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion, ground beef, and half the salt.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, breaking up any large pieces of beef, until well browned, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in pearl couscous, vegetables, tomatoes, remaining salt, and chicken stock. Bring to boiling, reduce to a simmer.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, until pasta is soft and vegetables are crisp-tender, about 10 minutes. Serve warm.